Lawrence Co., Ohio Commissioners Vote to Close Jail

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Tough financial times call for tough decisions and that is why one county commission has voted to move the jail to another county.

Thursday morning, Lawrence County, Ohio Commissioners voted unanimously to close the county jail, and move to the now empty Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility near Franklin Furnace in Scioto County.

"Frankly this is the toughest decision I've ever had to make" said Commission President Les Boggs.

After studying several reports the commission says that although this will have some additional costs involved it will be the cheapest and best decision in the long run.

"It will cause a little bit more in transportation costs. It's a bigger and better facility and will cost more in utility and also we will need a bigger staff to run the facility," Boggs said

In March 2011, the Gov. John Kasich announced he was closing the facility due to budget issues and a low inmate census. Some 330 people work at ORV at that time.

The facility will be leased to the Lawrence County Commission for $1 a year for the next 15 years.

Before the facility can be open it must be brought up to state standards which the state is finding at a cost of just more than $500-thousand. The original cost of the facility was $40 million.

The current jail is supposed to house 27 inmates but averages close to 80 per day. The county would have to send the additional 50 inmates each day to other facilities costing the county nearly $1-million each year.

The commission hopes that by the end of the 15 year lease the county has its own new facility.

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